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Intel, Google ink patent deals with InterDigital, Magnolia Broadband

Massive haul and boutique buy

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Both Intel and Google started the week in acquisitive modes, with the former announcing a massive $375m patent deal with InterDigital, and the latter acquiring over 50 patents from Magnolia Broadband for an unspecified amount.

It appears that the mobile-broadband patent wars are not only continuing to churn the tech world, they're also continuing to cause big money to change hands among big players.

"These patents will support Intel's strategic investments in the mobile segment," said Chipzilla's general counsel Doug Melamed about his company's Monday move. "The addition of these patents expands our already large, strong and diverse portfolio of intellectual property."

Over in Warren, New Jersey, Magnolia Broadband's CEO Osmo Hautanen offered his opinion of Google's largesse, saying, "We believe that Google's acquisition of our more than 50 Mobile Transmit Diversity beam forming technology patents underlines the need for such a technology in mobile broadband devices."

The MTD patents, which Magnolia Broadband developed in a research and testing effort of over a decade, cover technologies to increase spectrum utilization, expand coverage, improve uplink transmission speeds, and improve mobile devices' battery life.

Interestingly, although the MTD patent portfolio was acquired by Google, Hautanen noted that "The software, which can be embedded into any mobile broadband device remains the property of Magnolia Broadband and will be made available to mobile device vendors and chipset companies."

Magnolia board chairman Yaron Eitan chimed in on this point as well, saying, "We look forward to deployment of this innovative technology in smart phones, tablets and other mobile broadband devices, to provide faster data throughput, better coverage and wider range."

But while Google's MTD purchase is of a mere 50-or-so patents, Intel's $375m haul is far more sweeping: their deal with InterDigital bags them over 1,700 patents and applications covering mostly 3G, LTE, and 802.11 technologies – although InterDigital's stategy and finance man Scott McQuilkin referred to that pile o' patents as only "a small portion of our overall patent portfolio."

Like Hautanen, McQuilkin views his company's deal as a corporate endorsement. "The acquisition of this portfolio of InterDigital's technologies by a global technology leader like Intel affirms the efforts of our research and development team which actively shares our innovations with the worldwide standards bodies," he said, "defining technologies that are central to the world's major wireless systems and devices."

One can only assume that there is many a hurried discussion this Monday morning among the legal teams at Apple, HTC, Samsung, and others about the murky mobile-broadband patent landscape. And as Intel continues its deep-pocket efforts to move into the mobile market, odds are that ARM's corner offices are abuzz, as well. ®

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